New Grad Lacks Career Direction

Joyce writes:
My daughter has just graduated from an excellent university with a BA in
English and she has no direction to pursue a career. She was told that she
would need either a teaching certificate or grad work to find a job. She has
no interest in teaching but she is really good at writing and editing.
What kind of careers are open to her and where can we look for information? I
have suggested she go back to the college career center and tap in to the
alumni association. in order for her to write some letters for networking purposes.

The Career Doctor responds:
The good news for you and other grads and parents is that the situation
your daughter faces is not that uncommon. I’ve found that many liberal-arts majors get caught up in the learning — which is wonderful — but at the
expense of career planning. And going to grad school with no clear direction
would be a waste of time and money.
The bad news is that there is very little mercy in today’s job market.
Employers expect even entry-level job-seekers to have work experience.
English is a wonderful major because communications is vital to all
organizations. Employers are always talking about the need for good
What your daughter needs to do is find a career focus. I would suggest
she start by examining her likes and dislikes. What have been the
activities she has enjoyed the most over the last few years. Next she
should meet with a career professional from her alma mater and do
some serious brainstorming. And yes sure she could use the alums
for informational interviews and networking.
She might also try volunteering or temping while she is developing her
career focus — because the more careers she tries out the more
she’ll know what she does and does not want to do.
Finally she should remember that finding a career is often a lifelong
Read more in my article published on Quintessential Careers:
Developing a
Strategic Vision for Your Career Plan
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